Page images

the solemnity, and sent for the crown which the old knight had left him, and desired the Queen to attire herself in the mantle. She opened the coffer wherein they were laid, with the key which she always kept herself, and found nothing therein, whereat she was greatly amazed, and crossed herself and sent to inform the king. He, albeit he was much troubled, dissembled his chagrin, and going to the queen took her apart and said, how, Madam, have you kept so ill a thing of such value ? Sir, she replied, I know not what to say : the coffer was locked, and the key, which I have never trusted from me, in my own possession; but I dreamt last night that a damsel came and asked me to shew her the coffer, which in my sleep I did, and she demanded the key and I gave it her; and she opened the coffer and took out the crown and mantle, then fastened it again and replaced the key. And she clad herself in the mantle and put on the crown, which so well became her that I had great delight in looking at her; and she said to me, He and she whose these shall be, before five days end shall reign in the realm of the mighty one who now labours to defend it, and to conquer the lands of others. I asked her of whom she spake. She answered, You will know at that time. And then she vanished, taking with her the crown and mantle; but I know not whether this happened to me in a dream, or in very deed. At this the king marvelled greatly, and charged her that she should tell no one.

Then leaving that tent they both went to the other, accompanied by so many knights, and dames and damsels, that all who saw them wondered. The king seated himself upon a rich seat, and the queen sate on another somewhat below him, both of which were

placed upon carpets of cloth of gold; the knights ranged themselves on the king's side, and the ladies on the side of the queen. The four knights whom the king most esteemed, were nearest him, Amadis, Galaor, Galvanes, and Agrayes ; at his back was King Arban of North Wales, armed at all points, and holding a drawn sword, and with him were two hundred knights. In this order, all being silent, there stood up a lady, exceeding fair, and richly garmented ; and there arose with her at the same time twelve dames and damsels, attired with like bravery and the same adornments; for this custom had the ladies and chiefs of high degree to take with them to such solemnities their followers, apparelled like their own proper persons. This lady with this attendance stood up before the king and queen, and addressing Lisuarte she said, Sire, hear me! I have a claim against this knight,-stretching forth her hand towards Amadis. She continued, and related how Angriote of Estravaus had sought her love, and why he kept the vale of pines, and how Amadis, having forced the pass, had promised to procure for him his mistress's favour. Whereof, quoth she, when I attained knowledge, I withdrew myself to my castle, where I kept such a strong guard and custom, that it was thought no strange knight could enter; nevertheless this knight entered who is at your feet,-pointing to Amadis whom she knew not. He afterward of his good will promised to make Amadis revoke his word to Angriote : but then there chanced a combat between him and mine Uncle Garsinan; and all eyes were fixed upon Garsinan while she related how the battle had been, marvelling that he should have dared do battle with Amadis.-And

here, sir, said she, am I come to claim his promise, and discharge my own.

When she had ended, Amadis arose and said, What the lady hath said is true, and I promise to make Amadis revoke his word to Angriote : let her also grant the covenanted boon. Thereat in great joy she exclaimed, ask what you will! What I demand is, quoth he, that you marry Angriote, and I love him even as he loveth you. Holy Mary, help me! she exclaimed: what is this ? Fair lady, replied he, it is that you should wed a knight deserving one of your birth and beauty. But your promise -It is performed : I revoke my word to Angriote, for I am Amadis ! but I claim the performance of your's; so give I you to him, and keep my faith with both. Sir, quoth she, to the king, is this Amadis indeed ? Without doubt. Ah wretch, she cried, it is vain for mortal man to avoid what God hath decreed ! it was for no dislike nor misesteem that I refused Sir Angriote, but because being free I would have preserved my single liberty; and now, when I thought myself safely separated, I am thus put in his power. Then said Lisuarte, as God shall help me, fair lady, you have great reason to rejoice; for, as you are fair and of high degree, so is he young and of great prowess; and, as you are rich in possessions, so is he in all goodness : great reason is there then in such a marriage, and so it must appear to all. Grovenesa turned to the queen, You, my lady queen, whom God has made one of the best and wisest princesses in the world, what do you say to me?—That Angriote deserves the love of any lady. Trust me, quoth Amadis, my promise to Angriote was made neither by chance, nor for any undue favour to him, but because having to my danger proved his worth in arms, I felt myself bound to remedy as far as I could his extreme passion for you, and your little regard toward him. I must yield, quoth Grovenesa ; and, after all that has been said, it were folly not to be well pleased. Sir Angriote, quoth Amadis, here is your lady: I perform my word on condition that the marriage be performed without delay. The king commanded the Bishop of Salerno to go with them to his chapel, and give them the blessings of the church. Forthwith Angriote and his bride with all their lineage went into the city, and there was the marriage ceremony with all solemnity performed ; and, we may say, that all this had been so ordered to requite Angriote for his great courtesy and forbearance towards this lady when he had her in his power.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

CHAP. XXXIII.-How when the Cortes was assembled King

Lisuarte asked counsel of his knights concerning what he ought to do.

I NG Lisuarte remaining with his chiefs

thus bespake them : Friends ! since God J hath made me more rich in dominion and in subjects than any of the kings my neighbours, reason it is that for his service I should perform more praiseworthy things than they : tell me then how I may best promote my honour and advancement together with your own, and what shall seem best that will I do. Then Barsinan, Lord of Sansuena, arose and said, Ye have heard, sirs, the king's charge: I should hold it good that if he pleased he would leave ye, that ye might the more freely deliver each his opinion; and, afterwards, he may follow that which

mnow I may ten your preiman, I

most accords with his own. The king replied that he said well, and therewith departed into another tent.

Then Serolys the Fleming, who was Count of Clara, began in this manner : Sirs, it is manifest that men in this world can only become powerful by strengthening themselves with men and money ; but the money should be employed in procuring men, for by men must kingdoms be defended and won. Other counsel than this, sirs, the king will not take; to seek good knights from all parts, and love and cherish and honour and reward them with his bounty, so that strangers shall seek him for the fame thereof. They alone have been fortunate and mighty who have thus strengthened themselves with the aid of famous knights, distributing treasures to them, and acquiring by their aid greater treasures, the spoils of others. This advice was well liked of by all, except Barsinan, whom it troubled, because if that were followed he should hardly effect the purpose for which he came. Certes, said he, I never saw many so good men yield so foolishly at a word ! If your lord were to do as the Count of Clara hath proposed, before two years were at an end, the king would have given to strangers what else would have been given among you, and you would be neglected and of no account, while his favours would naturally be bestowed upon them, being newly come : look ye well to this ! it concerns not me; only that I shall rejoice if my advice should be found profitable. Some there were, envious and greedy men, who were of this mind, so that there arose a contention, and it was agreed that the king should come and decide. But he seeing the thing clearly before his eyes, said thus : Kings are powerful not for the much, but for the many at their command. With

« PreviousContinue »